Very few places know how to embrace nature to the fullest and leave you wanting to go back again and again just to take in more if its natural beauty. Slovenia is one of those places. To be honest I had no idea where Slovenia was, until a few years ago, some of my clients were from there and they would talk about how pretty it was with the Alps on the west and the plains on the east and the coast to the south. That sounds awesome, doesn’t it? So, I decided to go home that day and google it. And boy was I impressed. Not only did it go on my bucket list, but was very high on the list. Fast forward, years later when we were planning a trip to Europe, my husband and I decided not to do the more common touristy countries like France. Don’t get me wrong, Slovenia does have tourists, obviously, but it is not that crowed like say Venice. So we planned our road trip through Slovenia.
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In my opinion, Slovenia is Europe’s best kept secret! You have to see it to believe it. If you haven’t heard of the story of how Slovenia was created check out this post. So, there we were in Ljubljana (J is silent or more like an I), we rented our car and off we went straight to Lake Bled. I had seen pictures of this breathtakingly beautiful place, but nothing beats seeing it in person. It almost felt surreal. There was so much to take in. As soon as we entered Bled, it felt like a quaint touristy town with people biking around the lake, some rowing to the church on the island, some walking hand in hand with their loved ones. Romance was surely in the air. With a huge smile on our faces we headed to our campsite.
We were trying out “Glamping” for the first time. For those of you less familiar with this term it is short for Glamourous Camping. Vik and I love camping and we really didn’t mind camping in Bled but when we saw these adorable glamping huts, we just had to stay there. I highly recommend staying here if you ever visit Lake Bled. It does not break the bank and you get to be one with nature. They sell out pretty early so book your hut well in advance.
Address : Kidričeva cesta 10c, 4260 Bled, Slovenia
Make sure to get the breakfast in bed option. You pay for it when you check in and you get your breakfast delivered to your doorstep in a cute little wicker picnic basket. What is in the basket you ask? There was a lot actually. There was a flask of coffee, some fruits, a couple of sandwiches, cold cuts, cheese, olives, milk, cereal, water, plates, tissue and silverware. All neatly wrapped and they drop it off early. Totally worth it. If you would rather go get some hot breakfast, there is a restaurant close to the check in office.
The next day we wanted to explore Triglav National Park. The park covers 880 square kilometers, or 3% of the territory of Slovenia. The Triglav National Park extends along the Italian border and close to the Austrian border in the north-west of Slovenia, that is, in the south-eastern section of the Alps. And is just amazing. We didn’t have much time in Slovenia, but if I were to do this again, I would spend a few days just driving around the park and staying in the tiny adorable villages that are dotted all over to fully take in the local culture. Since our base was Bled we had to finish seeing what we wanted to in a day.
We started by driving from Bled to Kranjska Gora , a quaint little ski town. But since we were travelling in the summer there was no snow here. We visited the tourist information office here to grab a map of the hiking trails in the park and to grab a cup of coffee. It was a 30 minute drive from Bled. The roads in Slovenia are very well paved and clearly marked. They make it so convenient for travelers to find their way around. There are a lot of activities you could do in Kranjska Gora. Here is their e-brochure. It is very detailed and gives great recommendations. I recommend staying in Kranjska Gora for a day or two and exploring this part of the park.
From Kranjska Gora we headed to the Vršič Pass. It is the highest pass in Slovenia and it climbs up the mountain in 50 hairpin bends or switchbacks. Prepare yourself for the drive of a lifetime. The majestic mountains accompany you on this journey. It is one of the prettiest drives Vik and I have ever done. The roads are well paved, although they are quite narrow with two lanes carrying two way traffic. You will encounter a lot of cyclists here so drive carefully. Take your time and enjoy the views. Once you have reached to summit of the pass you will start descending into the Soca valley. There are a lot of viewpoints you can stop at along the way and take in the breathtaking beauty of the Julian Alps. My next post will on all the stops you should make on your drive to Vršič Pass. So stay tuned.
Once you have completed the 50 hairpin bends you know you have completed the Vršič Pass and find yourself in Trenta. After you pass Trenta, you can reward yourself with the beautiful emerald waters of the Soca River. It truly is a treat to the beholder. You can stop along the way and hike up the trails. The trails are clearly marked with parking spots for your car. The Soca river does carve out some of the most beautiful gorges. The alluring blue waters and the dramatic rocks make it the best place to take pictures.
We almost kept following the Soca river through Bovec and Kobarid. These towns have the cutest little houses with colorful flowering plants and green grassy meadows. It felt like a scene from “The Sound of Music”. We did stop to see one more big waterfall and ended our drive in Most na Soči
Our adventures did not end there! We needed to get back to Bled, to our campsite. There are two ways of getting back. you can drive back the way you came which took well over an afternoon or you could drive your car onto a train and let the train take you back closer to home base in 45 minutes or so. When we heard of the “Autovlak” as they call it, we knew we just had to try it. It was an amazing experience. So you drive your car onto the train and sit inside your car and get to watch the views of beautifully breathtaking Slovenia from a different vantage point. It costs 14 Euro for the car and driver and an additional 2.58 Euro for the passenger. Totally worth it. If you are trying to get back to Bled, like us, then you get off at Bohinjska Bistrica. Check the schedule for the train here and plan your drive accordingly. They stop loading the cars 10 minutes prior to departure.
We ended our day in Lake Bohinj which is usually overshadowed by Lake Bled but is equally beautiful. If you are following our itinerary the drive from Bohinjska Bistrica to Lake Bohinj is about 15 minutes or so. I suggest spending a night in Lake Bohinj and exploring the neighboring towns and hiking up to the famous Savica falls, which is the most visited falls in Slovenia. We managed to squeeze that in our day drive to Triglav but I must admit we were exhausted by the end of the day and had hiked way more than we had planned to.
What better way to relax and unwind after such an eventful day? By soaking in the wood fired hot tub by our glamping hut. We reached home base only at 10 pm and were worried if the hot tub would be warm or if we had to start the fire from scratch, but to our luck the management had lit the fire and the tub was steaming hot. We got in our tub gazing at the stars, the camp site was quiet by then with an occasion hoot from an owl nearby. Snuggled with my love trying to sight a shooting start. It was like a dream come true.
Sleeping in the hut in itself was an adventure. They provide you with a heater, we did turn it on before bed but it got too hot so we had to turn it off. You would be surprised by the storage space this little hut has. We woke up to our amazing breakfast and we geared up for another adventurous day.
Today it was white water rafting. I have been rafting a few times before and I thoroughly enjoy it. If you enjoy rafting and have time on hand, they do have 2 night rafting trips leaving from Bled. You pitch a tent in between and camp on the shores of the river. How fun is that? We really wanted to go rafting in the Soca river but they were all either sold out or were too long for our short trip there. So we decided to go with what we got and it turned out to be a lot of fun. We went rafting on the Sava river for 3 hours and it was a Class II. Our guide made it so much fun by playing games and we had a bunch of Irish college boys on our raft, which made it all the more livelier and daring.
We pulled over on a tiny island in the river and a few boys tried their hand at cliff diving. It looked fun but scared me a little because it was a river and it wasn’t that deep! There are a lot of adventure sports you can do from Lake bled. A few worth mentioning are canyoning, kayaking, paragliding and rafting. We always book our tours through viator and have been very satisfied by the service and the price. What are you waiting for? Click on the banner below and sign up for an awesome tour with them.
We spent the rest of the day exploring Bled. We went upto the Bled castle or Blejski Grad. You can drive up to this castle or you could walk to it. The views from here are very nice. Then we walked around the lake for a bit and ended our night in our hot tub.
Remember this view of lake bled? How do you get to see it?
The best things in life are free, but no body said it was easy! This is a perfect example. The hike to this view point is not easy by any means. But it is totally worth it. If you don’t like hiking and uphill climbs, this trail is not for you. It is pretty much uphill all the way. I will try to explain how to get there as much as I can.
If you are staying at Camp Bled, like we did, once you exit the main camp area, walk a little on the grass and on you right you will find the shortcut to the trail. Follow the trail until you see a house with a barn and the trail adjacent to it. Keep following the trail and you will eventually see signs for two different trails. One is “Mala Osojnica” which goes up to 2247 feet and the other one is “Ojstrica” which goes to 2004 feet. They are both strenuous but lead to amazing views. You will be rewarded with Instagram worthy pictures, I promise! I would allot 2 to 2.5 hours roundtrip for this trail. Carry water with you. You could get a trail map from one of the many visitor offices in town. The best view according to us was at the top of “Velika Osojnica”. It is a loop and so on our way down we were encountered by steep ladder like staircase, after which it was all downhill. Hope this information helps.
Sadly all good things comes to an end! So did our amazing vacation in Slovenia. Next stop was Cinque Terre, Italy.
Overall Slovenia surpassed all our expectations and it is a country I an dying to return to. And did I mention about their food? It is to die for. Their sausages are so delicious. I will be writing a separate post on their food. Stay tuned. If you found this article helpful kindly leave a comment below. Hope you have a great road trip through Slovenia. Thank you and happy travels.